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16th Street Mall Revitalization Moving Forward After Difficult 2020

DENVER (CBS4) - 2020 was quite a difficult year in Colorado, and Denver's 16th Street Mall took a big hit as a result. COVID-19 closed many businesses, and protests over the summer left some of those same businesses vandalized. But in the new year, the Downtown Denver Partnership is anticipating a renewed start.

"A vision for the redevelopment has been worked on for the past 10 years and we have had over 5,000 people plus ... in our community weigh in on the vision, the concept, the hope for the future of the 16th Street Mall," said President and CEO Tami Door. "We have an infrastructure planned and ready to go. And that's something that even in these hard times, that Denver needs to remember. We are the best at this."

She and CBS4's Mekialaya White discussed plans for the revitalization via Zoom. In a recent step forward, the city partnered with PCL Construction Services for the next phase of the project. It will put bus lanes together and make better use of median space, among other adjustments.

16th street mall (3)
(credit: Downtown Denver Partnership)
16th street mall (2)
(credit: Downtown Denver Partnership)
16th street mall (1)
(credit: Downtown Denver Partnership)

"What's most exciting about it is it retains most of the concept of this main street gathering place but it makes it even more impactful," said Door. "What that does is it gives wider sidewalk space for more opportunities for vendors and cafés and places to sit in an environment that is more open."

Currently, total visitors to the 16th Street Mall remain well below normal levels, according to data from DDP:

  2019 Average Daily Visitors 2020 Average Daily Visitors 2021 Average Daily Visitors Year over Year Change (2019 to 2020) Year over Year Change (2020 to 2021)
January                                  352,401                                   356,470                          127,732  1% -64%
February                                  342,740                                   351,380    3%  
March                                  515,958                                   231,082    -55%  
April                                  461,874                                     20,097    -96%  
May                                  461,691                                     42,318    -91%  
June                                  553,243                                   111,827    -80%  
July                                  585,307                                   171,245    -71%  
August                                  513,482                                   201,320    -61%  
September                                  470,195                                   185,841    -60%  
October                                  432,514                                   203,850    -53%  
November                                  377,354                                   119,174    -68%  
December                                  430,063                                   172,471    -60%  

Additional data can be found here.

Door is hopeful visitors will be enticed by the upcoming upgrades.

"It tells the story of who we are. The design is incredible. The mall is certainly worn and old that's why we're doing this redevelopment. And when that is finished and it's brand new and redesigned, it will be even more of a powerful symbol of Denver -- who we are what we are and how our city can come to life in that environment."

Construction will begin in the 4th quarter of 2021. From that point on, it's expected to be a three-year process.

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